Article 43

 

Bad Moon Rising

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bad Moon Rising Part 86 - Putin Threatens Nukes

image: nuclear explosion

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.
- Wolfowitz Doctrine
 
Their military ambitions, in other words, knew no bounds; nor, it seemed, did the money and resources which began to flow into the Pentagon, the weapons industries, the countrys increasingly militarized intelligence services, mercenary companies like Blackwater and KBR that grew fat on a privatizing administrations war plans and the multi-billion-dollar no-bid contracts it was eager to proffer, the new Department of Homeland Security, and a ramped-up, ever more powerful NATIONAL SECURITY STATE.
- Entering the Soviet Style Era in America, 2010

What Putin’s Nuclear Threats Mean For The US

By Caitlin Talmadge
Wall Street Journal
March 3, 2022

Washington needs to develop new strategies for a world where nuclear weapons don’t deter conventional aggression, argues Caitlin Talmadge, associate professor of security studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the author of “The Dictator’s Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes.” She received her PhD from MIT and is a research affiliate of the MIT Security Studies Program. This article first appeared here.

On the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, VLADIMIR PUTIN issued a nuclear warning. He admonished that “anyone who tries to interfere with us… must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your HISTORY." In case anyone misunderstood his warning, he added that RUSSIA REMAINS “one of the most powerful nuclear powers” with “certain advantages in a number of the latest types of weapons” and stated that “no one should have any doubt that a direct attack on Russia will lead to defeat and dire consequences for a potential aggressor.” A few days later, he upped the ante further with the public announcement of a Russian nuclear alert.

The US cannot overlook these chilling threats. They are part of a deliberate strategy to advance Russias revisionist political and military goals. Countering them will require the US and its friends to tailor both their conventional and their nuclear postures to the emerging danger - not only in the current crisis with Russia but also to prepare for the possibility that China might follow the same playbook in a FUTURE WAR over Taiwan.

Mr. Putin’s unusually explicit rhetoric has sent a clear message to the West: Stay out of my attack on a third party or risk nuclear conflict.  Having bolstered in recent years its arsenal of nuclear weapons that can evade missile defenses and hit targets in Europe and the US, Russia is attempting to use these forces as a shield for conventional aggression. Mr. Putin is betting that despite the conventional military might of the US and its allies, they will shrink from confrontation at least partly out of fear of nuclear escalation.

This approach to nuclear deterrence calls into question the often-cited logic of mutually assured destruction, or “MAD.” This traditional notion assumes that mutual nuclear vulnerability - that is, a situation in which both sides have nuclear forces that can inflict significant retaliation on the other, even after suffering a nuclear first strike - can actually stabilize world politics and make conflict between nuclear adversaries, even over third parties, less likely. Under this condition, the risks of nuclear escalation become so dangerous and so inescapable that countries will hesitate even to provoke a crisis, much less to fight wars. Many credit MAD with keeping the Cold War cold.

The problem is that precisely because all-out nuclear war would be so costly for both the US and Russia, Mr. Putin likely believes it won’t happen. As a result, he may feel relatively safe engaging in conventional aggression or even limited nuclear use below that threshold - demonstration strikes, for example, or attacks on military targets - without much risk of a Western response. In general, he appears to believe that Russian nuclear weapons provide cover for Russian aggression, while American nuclear weapons don’t provide reciprocal freedom to respond, perhaps because the US is less invested in defending the status quo than Mr. Putin is in challenging it. Pakistan has honed exactly this strategy against India, and now a revisionist Russia is adopting it too.

Russia has longstanding grievances with the geopolitical status quo, including most notably the expansion of NATO after the humiliating contraction of the Soviet empire. These resentments, combined with a serious miscalculation about how the West would respond to his invasion, may have emboldened Mr. Putin to make nuclear threats, despite the powerful US arsenal. Ultimately, however, Russia doesn’t want to get into a nuclear war with NATO. It just wants NATO to stay out of Russia’s conventional war against Ukraine.

Unfortunately for the US, Russia isn’t the only opponent that could use its nuclear arsenal as a shield for conventional aggression against third parties. China is in the midst of modernizing its nuclear forces, building better nuclear weapons in larger numbers than it ever has before. These include both long-range forces that can threaten the US and medium-range nuclear weapons well-suited to limited attacks on US military targets and allies in the western Pacific.

Chinas arsenal likely will remain significantly smaller than those of both Russia and the US for some time. Nevertheless, Beijing is pushing Washington into a state of deeper mutual nuclear vulnerability. As with Russia, the U.S. would find an all-out nuclear war with China extremely costly, and both sides will have strong incentives to avoid it. Yet this strategic nuclear stalemate is unlikely to be stabilizing given that CHINA, LIKE RUSSIA, IS DEEPLY DISSATISFIED with the status quo, especially over Taiwan.

A more robust nuclear arsenal may not make China more cautious. Instead it may give China CONFIDENCE that if it conventionally challenges US friends or allies in the region, the US can’t simply lean on its nuclear status to get China to back down.

>b>By attempting to neutralize the US ability to make credible nuclear threats in a crisis, China may believe it can keep the fight conventional - which would play to China’s strengths. China overmatches Taiwan conventionally, just as Russia does Ukraine</b>. Likewise, Beijing cares about Taipeis status more than Washington does. Again, an opponent that has little desire to fight a nuclear war with the US may nevertheless rely on its nuclear forces to stiff-arm an American conventional response.

Russia and China have distinct relationships with the US, but they present a common problem: The US seeks to maintain credible commitments to allies and friends in the two regions. But how can it do this when conventionally strong, nuclear-armed US opponents seek to revise the status quo through the use of force?

As Ukrainian resistance has already demonstrated, robust conventional forces are a critical part of the answer, both on NATO’s eastern flank and along the first island chain in East Asia. An adversary’s nuclear threats aimed at keeping the US out of a conventional fight will matter much less if allies can make that fight conventionally costly for the opponent, regardless of whether, when or how the US intervenes. The key is to provide allies with defensive capabilities that don’t threaten adversaries unless they attack.

Especially for Taiwan, that means investing less in high-prestige aircraft and ships and more in mines, submarines, drones, missiles and air defenses that can impose heavy costs on a Chinese attempt to cross the strait. Improving the islands economic and military resilience in the event of air and missile attacks is also important, as is publicly signaling these measures.

Similarly, the US should focus its own conventional posture on the goal of denying Russia and China the ability to conduct rapid military campaigns that revise the territorial status quo. In coordination with allies, the US should prioritize intelligence assets, forward deployment of munitions and equipment, and investment in weapons systems such as nuclear-powered attack submarines and penetrating bombers that have the best chance of surviving a fight with a highly capable adversary. Even in the presence of large nuclear arsenals, these conventional capabilities will remain vital to keeping the peace against opponents who may otherwise believe that nuclear weapons give them cover for aggression.

The US nuclear arsenal remains the ultimate backstop of its alliance commitments. Distasteful as it is to contemplate, having the ability to threaten limited nuclear attacks, particularly against military targets, remains important for deterring Russia and China, both of which are readily deploying such weapons. The key is to signal prior to any war both that the US has no desire to initiate conflict and that threats of nuclear escalation won’t force the US to back down. The presence of the American arsenal can also help reassure allies that the US will defend them, making them less likely to seek nuclear weapons of their own.

About the author:

Caitlin Talmadge is associate professor of security studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the author of THE DICTATOR’S ARMY: BATTLEFIELD EFFECTIVENESS IN AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES. She received her PhD from MIT and is a research affiliate of the MIT Security Studies Program.

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Putin mobilizes 300,000 troops for war in Ukraine and warns he’s not bluffing with nuclear threat

By Holly Ellyatt
CNBC
September 21, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial military mobilization in Russia, putting the countrys people and economy on a wartime footing as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

In a rare prerecorded televised announcement, Putin said the West “wants to destroy our country” and claimed the West had tried to “turn Ukraine’s people into cannon fodder,” in comments translated by Reuters, repeating earlier claims in which he has blamed Western nations for starting a proxy war with Russia.

Putin said “mobilization events” would begin Wednesday without providing further details, aside from saying he had ordered an increase in funding to boost Russia’s weapons production, having committed (and lost) a large amount of weaponry during the conflict, which began in late February.

A partial mobilization is a hazy concept, but it could mean that Russian businesses and citizens have to contribute more to the war effort. Russia has not yet declared war on Ukraine, despite having invaded in February, and it calls its invasion a “special military operation.”

Putin confirmed that military reservists would be called up into active service, but insisted a wider conscription of Russian men of fighting age was not taking place.

“I reiterate, we are talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience. Conscripts will obligatorily go through additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation before departing to the units,” he said according to an Associated Press translation.

In what was immediately greeted as an escalatory address, Putin also accused the West of engaging in nuclear blackmail against Russia and warned again that the country had “lots of weapons to reply” to what he said were Western threats - adding that he was not bluffing.

Putin has alluded to Russia’s nuclear weaponry at various points during the conflict with Ukraine but there are doubts over whether Moscow would actually resort to deploying such a weapon, with analysts saying it could be tantamount to starting a third world war.

Chinas Foreign Ministry called on all parties to engage in dialogue to find a way to address their security concerns, while British Foreign Office Minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News that PutinҒs comments should not be taken lightly.

“Clearly its something that we should take very seriously because, you know, weҒre not in control - I’m not sure he’s in control either, really. This is obviously an escalation,” she said.

Financial markets reacted negatively to Putins comments with oil prices spiking more than 2% and the Russian ruble slumping around 2.6% against the dollar.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu added more detail on the partial mobilization Wednesday morning, saying it would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in the military campaign in Ukraine.

In an interview with Russian state television, Shoigu said that students and those who served as conscripts would not be called up, and that the majority of Russia’s reserves would not be drafted, Reuters reported.

Russia under pressure

Putin’s comments come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February, approaches the winter period with momentum appearing to be on Ukraine’s side after it launched lightning counteroffensives in the northeast and south to reclaim lost territory.

Speculation mounted Tuesday that Putin could be about to announce a full or partial mobilization of the Russian economy and society, paving the way for possible conscription of Russian men of fighting age, after Moscow-installed officials in occupied areas of Ukraine announced plans to stage immediate referendums on joining Russia.

The votes - set to take place in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia this weekend and with the results widely expected to be rigged in favor of joining Russia - would enable the Kremlin to claim, albeit falsely, that it was “defending” its own territory and citizens, and that will require more manpower.

Putin said Wednesday that Russia supported the referendums and said that the decision to partially mobilize was “fully adequate to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.”

Plans to hold such votes were widely condemned by Ukraine and its Western allies who said they would not recognize the ballots and efforts to annex more of Ukraine, as Russia did with Crimea in 2014.

Putin on Wednesday repeated earlier claims from Moscow that Russias aim is to “liberate” the Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine in which there are two self-proclaimed, pro-Russian republics, and said he had ordered the government to give legal status to volunteers fighting in the Donbas, Reuters reported.

Morale is believed to be low among Russian troops fighting in Ukraine and on Tuesday the Russian Duma, the country’s parliament, voted to tighten up Russia’s criminal code around military service - including increasing the punishment for desertion and other “crimes committed in conditions of mobilization, martial law, armed conflicts and hostilities.”

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Address by the President of the Russian Federation

By Vladimir Putin
Kremlin
September 21, 2022

Friends,

The subject of this address is the situation in Donbass and the course of the special military operation to liberate it from the neo-Nazi regime, which seized power in Ukraine in 2014 as the result of an armed state coup.

Today I am addressing you all citizens of our country, people of different generations, ages and ethnicities, the people of our great Motherland, all who are united by the great historical Russia, soldiers, officers and volunteers who are fighting on the frontline and doing their combat duty, our brothers and sisters in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and other areas that have been liberated from the neo-Nazi regime.

The issue concerns the necessary, imperative measures to protect the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia and support the desire and will of our compatriots to choose their future independently, and the aggressive policy of some Western elites, who are doing their utmost to preserve their domination and with this aim in view are trying to block and suppress any sovereign and independent development centres in order to continue to aggressively force their will and pseudo-values on other countries and nations.

The goal of that part of the West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country. They are saying openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other.

They devised these plans long ago. They encouraged groups of international terrorists in the Caucasus and moved NATOs offensive infrastructure close to our borders. They used indiscriminate Russophobia as a weapon, including by nurturing the hatred of Russia for decades, primarily in Ukraine, which was designed to become an anti-Russia bridgehead. They turned the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder and pushed them into a war with Russia, which they unleashed back in 2014. They used the army against civilians and organised a genocide, blockade and terror against those who refused to recognise the government that was created in Ukraine as the result of a state coup.

After the Kiev regime publicly refused to settle the issue of Donbass peacefully and went as far as to announce its ambition to possess nuclear weapons, it became clear that a new offensive in Donbass Җ there were two of them before was inevitable, and that it would be inevitably followed by an attack on Russia֒s Crimea, that is, on Russia.

In this connection, the decision to start a pre-emptive military operation was necessary and the only option. The main goal of this operation, which is to liberate the whole of Donbass, remains unaltered.

The Lugansk Peoples Republic has been liberated from the neo-Nazis almost completely. Fighting in the Donetsk PeopleҒs Republic continues. Over the previous eight years, the Kiev occupation regime created a deeply echeloned line of permanent defences. A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses, which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass, purge cities and towns of the neo-Nazis, and help the people whom the Kiev regime turned into hostages and human shields.

As you know, professional military personnel serving under contract are taking part in the special military operation. Fighting side by side with them are volunteer units people of different ethnicities, professions and ages who are real patriots. They answered the call of their hearts to rise up in defence of Russia and Donbass.

In this connection, I have already issued instructions for the Government and the Defence Ministry to determine the legal status of volunteers and personnel of the military units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people֒s republics. It must be the same as the status of military professionals of the Russian army, including material, medical and social benefits. Special attention must be given to organising the supply of military and other equipment for volunteer units and Donbass peoples militia.

While acting to attain the main goals of defending Donbass in accordance with the plans and decisions of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff, our troops have liberated considerable areas in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and a number of other areas. This has created a protracted line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long.

This is what I would like to make public for the first time today. After the start of the special military operation, in particular after the Istanbul talks, Kiev representatives voiced quite a positive response to our proposals. These proposals concerned above all ensuring RussiaҒs security and interests. But a peaceful settlement obviously did not suit the West, which is why, after certain compromises were coordinated, Kiev was actually ordered to wreck all these agreements.

More weapons were pumped into Ukraine. The Kiev regime brought into play new groups of foreign mercenaries and nationalists, military units trained according to NATO standards and receiving orders from Western advisers.

At the same time, the regime of reprisals throughout Ukraine against their own citizens, established immediately after the armed coup in 2014, was harshly intensified. The policy of intimidation, terror and violence is taking on increasingly mass-scale, horrific and barbaric forms.

I want to stress the following. We know that the majority of people living in the territories liberated from the neo-Nazis, and these are primarily the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to live under the yoke of the neo-Nazi regime. People in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, in Lugansk and Donetsk saw and are seeing now the atrocities perpetrated by the neo-Nazis in the [Ukrainian-] occupied areas of the Kharkov region. The descendants of Banderites and members of Nazi punitive expeditions are killing, torturing and imprisoning people; they are settling scores, beating up, and committing outrages on peaceful civilians.

There were over 7.5 million people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples republics and in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions before the outbreak of hostilities. Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes. Those who have stayed Җ they number about five million are now exposed to artillery and missile attacks launched by the neo-Nazi militants, who fire at hospitals and schools and stage terrorist attacks against peaceful civilians.

We cannot, we have no moral right to let our kin and kith be torn to pieces by butchers; we cannot but respond to their sincere striving to decide their destiny on their own.

The parliaments of the Donbass people֒s republics and the military-civilian administrations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have adopted decisions to hold referendums on the future of their territories and have appealed to Russia to support this.

I would like to emphasise that we will do everything necessary to create safe conditions for these referendums so that people can express their will. And we will support the choice of future made by the majority of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

Friends,

Today our armed forces, as I have mentioned, are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long, fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West.

In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decision, which is fully adequate to the threats we are facing. More precisely, I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff on partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.

As I have said, we are talking about partial mobilisation. In other words, only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.

Before being sent to their units, those called up for active duty will undergo mandatory additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation.

I have already signed Executive Order on partial mobilisation.

In accordance with legislation, the houses of the Federal Assembly Җ the Federation Council and the State Duma will be officially notified about this in writing today.

The mobilisation will begin today, September 21. I am instructing the heads of the regions to provide the necessary assistance to the work of military recruitment offices.

I would like to point out that the citizens of Russia called up in accordance with the mobilisation order will have the status, payments and all social benefits of military personnel serving under contract.

Additionally, the Executive Order on partial mobilisation also stipulates additional measures for the fulfilment of the state defence order. The heads of defence industry enterprises will be directly responsible for attaining the goals of increasing the production of weapons and military equipment and using additional production facilities for this purpose. At the same time, the Government must address without any delay all aspects of material, resource and financial support for our defence enterprises.

Friends,

The West has gone too far in its aggressive anti-Russia policy, making endless threats to our country and people. Some irresponsible Western politicians are doing more than just speak about their plans to organise the delivery of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine, which could be used to deliver strikes at Crimea and other Russian regions.

Such terrorist attacks, including with the use of Western weapons, are being delivered at border areas in the Belgorod and Kursk regions. NATO is conducting reconnaissance through Russia֒s southern regions in real time and with the use of modern systems, aircraft, vessels, satellites and strategic drones.

Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to our territory. They openly say that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield by any means, and subsequently deprived of political, economic, cultural and any other sovereignty and ransacked.

They have even resorted to the nuclear blackmail. I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction nuclear weapons ֖ against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be defended I repeat - by all the systems available to us. Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around.

It is our historical tradition and the destiny of our nation to stop those who are keen on global domination and threaten to split up and enslave our Motherland. Rest assured that we will do it this time as well.

I believe in your support.

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Remarks by President Biden Before the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

President Biden
Whitehouse
September 21, 2022

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, my fellow leaders, in the last year, our world has experienced great upheaval: a growing crisis in food insecurity; record heat, floods, and droughts; COVID-19; inflation; and a brutal, needless war - a war chosen by one man, to be very blunt.

Let us speak plainly.  A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map.

Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter - no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force.

Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime.

Now Russia is calling - calling up more soldiers to join the fight.  And the Kremlin is organizing a sham referenda to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter.

This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are.  Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened. But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict.

In fact, we warned it was coming.  And with many of you, we worked to try to avert it.

Putins own words make his true purpose unmistakable.  Just before he invaded, Putin asserted җ and I quote Ukraine was דcreated by Russia and never had, quote, ԓreal statehood.

And now we see attacks on schools, railway stations, hospitals, wa- ԗ on centers of Ukrainian history and culture.

In the past, even more horrifying evidence of Russias atrocity and war crimes: mass graves uncovered in Izyum; bodies, according to those that excavated those bodies, showing signs of torture.

This war is about extinguishing UkraineҒs right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraines right to exist as a people.  Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not җ that should make your blood run cold.

That’s why 141 nations in the General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn RussiaҒs war against Ukraine.  The United States has marshaled massive levels of security assistance and humanitarian aid and direct economic support for Ukraine more than $25 billion to date.

Our allies and partners around the world have stepped up as well.  And today, more than 40 countries represented in here have contributed billions of their own money and equipment to help Ukraine defend itself.

The United States is also working closely with our allies and partners to impose costs on Russia, to deter attacks against NATO territory, to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities and war crimes.

Because if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for.  Everything.

Every victory won on the battlefield belongs to the courageous Ukrainian soldiers.  But this past year, the world was tested as well, and we did not hesitate.

We chose liberty.  We chose sovereignty.  We chose principles to which every party to the United Nations Charter is beholding.  We stood with Ukraine.

Like you, the United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we all signed up for: that you cannot seize a nationגs territory by force.  The only country standing in the way of that is Russia.

So, we each of us in this body who is determined to uphold the principles and beliefs we pledge to defend as members of the United Nations ח must be clear, firm, and unwavering in our resolve.

Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation.  We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine.  We will stand in solidarity against Russias aggression.  Period.

Now, itҒs no secret that in the contest between democracy and autocracy, the United States and I, as President ח champion a vision for our world that is grounded in the values of democracy.

The United States is determined to defend and strengthen democracy at home and around the world.  Because I believe democracy remains humanitys greatest instrument to address the challenges of our time.

WeҒre working with the G7 and likeminded countries to prove democracies can deliver for their citizens but also deliver for the rest of the world as well.

But as we meet today, the U.N. Charter the U.N. Charterגs very basis of a stable and just rule-based order is under attack by those who wish to tear it down or distort it for their own political advantage.

And the United Nations Charter was not only signed by democracies of the world, it was negotiated among citizens of dozens of nations with vastly different histories and ideologies, united in their commitment to work for peace.

As President Truman said in 1945, the U.N. Charter and I quote ח is proof that nations, like men, can state their differences, can face them, and then can find common ground on which to stand.Ӕ End of quote.

That common ground was so straightforward, so basic that, today, 193 of you 193 member states ח have willingly embraced its principles.  And standing up for those principles for the U.N. Charter is the job of every responsible member state.

I reject the use of violence and war to conquer nations or expand borders through bloodshed.

To stand against global politics of fear and coercion; to defend the sovereign rights of smaller nations as equal to those of larger ones; to embrace basic principles like freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and arms control no matter what else we may disagree on, that is the common ground upon which we must stand.

If youגre still committed to a strong foundation for the good of every nation around the world, then the United States wants to work with you.

I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive so that it can better respond to the needs of todays world.

Members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the U.N. Charter and refrain җ refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations, to ensure that the Council remains credible and effective.

That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the Council.  This includes permanent seats for those nations weve long supported and permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

THE UNITED STATES IS COMMITTED to this vital work.  In every region, we pursued new, constructive ways to work with partners to advance shared interests, from elevating the Quad in the Indo-Pacific; to signing the Los Angeles Declaration of Migration and Protection at the Summit of the Americas; to joining a historic meeting of nine Arab leaders to work toward a more peaceful, integrated Middle East; to hosting the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in this December.

As I said last year, the United States is opening an era of relentless diplomacy to address the challenges that matter most to peopleגs lives all peopleגs lives: tackling the climate crisis, as the previous spoker [sic] speaker spoke to; strengthening global health security; feeding the world ח feeding the world.

We made that priority.  And one year later, were keeping that promise.

From the day I came to office, weҒve led with a bold climate agenda.  We rejoined the Paris Agreement, convened major climate summits, helped deliver critical agreements on COP26.  And we helped get two thirds of the world GDP on track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

And now Ive signed a historic piece of legislation here in the United States that includes the biggest, most important climate commitment we have ever made in the history of our country: $369 billion toward climate change.  That includes tens of billions in new investments in offshore wind and solar, doubling down on zero emission vehicles, increasing energy efficiency, supporting clean manufacturing.

Our Department of Energy estimates that this new law will reduce U.S. emissions by one gigaton a year by 2030 while unleashing a new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth.

Our investments will also help reduce the cost of developing clean energy technologies worldwide, not just the United States.  This is a global gamechanger and none too soon.  We don’t have much time.

We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis.  No one seems to doubt it after this past year.  We meet we meet ח much of Pas- as we meet, much of Pakistan is still underwater; it needs help.  Meanwhile, the Horn of Africa faces unprecedented drought.

Families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering whether theyגll survive.

This is the human cost of climate change.  And its growing, not lessening.

So, as I announced last year, to meet our global responsibility, my administration is working with our Congress to deliver more than $11 billion a year to international climate finance to help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.

The key part of that will be our PEPFAR [PREPARE] plan, which will help half a billion people, and especially vulnerable countries, adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience.

This need is enormous.  So let this be the moment we find within ourselves the will to turn back the tide of climate demastation [sic] - devastation and unlock a resilient, sustainable, clean energy economy to preserve our planet.

On global health, we’ve delivered more than 620 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 116 countries around the world, with more available to help meet countries’ needs all free of charge, no strings attached.

And we’re working closely with the G20 and other countries.  And the United States helped lead the change to establish a groundbreaking new FUND for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response at the World Bank.

At the same time, we’ve continued to advance the ball on enduring global HEALTH CHALLENGES.

Later today, I’ll host the Seventh Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  With bipartisan support in our Congress, I have pledged to contribute up to $6 billion to that effort.

So I look forward to welcoming a historic round of pledges at the conference resulting in one of the largest global health fundraisers ever held in all of history.

We’re also taking on the food crisis head on.  With as many as 193 million people around the world experiencing acute җ acute food insecurity a jump of 40 million in a year ח today Im announcing another $2.9 billion in U.S. support for lifesaving humanitarian and food security assistance for this year alone.

Russia, in the meantime, is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis җ the food crisis onto sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine.

So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow ח explicitly allow Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer.  No limitation.  Its RussiaҒs war that is worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it.

Im grateful for the work here at the U.N. җ including your leadership, Mr. Secretary-General establishing a mechanism to export grain from Black Sea ports in Ukraine that Russia had blocked for months, and we need to make sure it’s extended.

We believe strongly in the need to feed the world.  Thats why the United States is the world’s largest supporter of the World Food Programme, with more than 40 percent of its budget.

We’re leading support - were leading support of the UNICEF efforts to feed children around the world.

And to take on the larger challenge of FOOD INSECURITY, the United States introduced a Call to Action: a roadmap eliminating global food insecurity - to eliminating global food insecurity that more than 100 nation member states have already supported.

In June, the G7 announced more than $4.5 billion to strengthen food security around the world.

Through USAIDs Feed the Future initiative, the United States is scaling up innovative ways to get drought- and heat-resistant seeds into the hands of farmers who need them, while distributing fertilizer and improving fertilizer efficiency so that farmers can grow more while using less.

And we’re calling on all countries to refrain from banning food exports or hoarding grain while so many people are suffering.  Because in every country in the world, no matter what else divides us, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing nothing else matters if parents cannot feed their children.

As we look to the future, we’re working with our partners to update and create rules of the road for new challenges we face in the 21st century.

We launched the Trade and Technology Council with the European Union to ensure that key technologies key technologies are developed and governed in the way that benefits everyone.

With our partner countries and through the U.N., we’re supporting and strengthening the norms of responsibility responsible state behavior in cyberspace and working to hold accountable those who use cyberattacks to threaten international peace and security.

With partners in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific, we’re working to build a new economic ecosystem while where every nation - every nation gets a fair shot and economic growth is resilient, sustainable, and shared.

Thats why the United States has championed a global minimum tax.  And we will work to see it implemented so major corporations pay their fair share everywhere - everywhere.

Its also been the idea behind the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which the United States launched this year with 13 other Indo-Pacific economies.  We’re working with our partners in ASEAN and the Pacific Islands to support a vision for a critical Indo-Pacific region that is free and open, connected and prosperous, secure and resilient.

Together with partners around the world, were working to secure resilient supply chains that protect everyone from coercion or domination and ensure that no country can use energy as a weapon.

And as Russias war riles the global economy, were also calling on major global creditors, including the non-Paris Club countries, to transparently negotiate debt forgiveness for lower-income countries to forestall broader economic and political crises around the world.

Instead of infrastructure projects that generate huge and large debt without delivering on the promised advantages, let’s meet the enormous infrastructure needs around the world with transparent investments high-standard projects that protect the rights of workers and the environment ח keyed to the needs of the communities they serve, not to the contributor.

Thats why the United States, together with fellow G7 partners, launched a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.  We intend to collectively mobilize $600 billion
in investment through this partnership by 2027.

Dozens of projects are already underway: industrial-scale vaccine manufacturing in Senegal, transformative solar projects in Angola, first-of-its-kind small modular nuclear power plant in Romania.

These are investments that are going to deliver returns not just for those countries, but for everyone.  The United States will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.  Climate diplomacy is not a favor to the United States or any other nation, and walking away hurts the entire world.

Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China.  As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader.  We do not seek conflict.  We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.

But the United States will be unabashed in promoting our vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world and what we have to offer communities of nations: investments that are designed not to foster dependency, but to alleviate burdens and help nations become self-sufficient; partnerships not to create political obligation, but because we know our own success - each of our success is increased when other nations succeed as well.

When individuals have the chance to live in dignity and develop their talents, everyone benefits.  Critical to that is living up to the highest goals of this institution: increasing peace and security for everyone, everywhere.

The United States will not waver in our unrelenting determination to counter and thwart the continuing terrorist threats to our world.  And we will lead with our diplomacy to strive for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

We seek to uphold peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

We remain committed to our One China policy, which has helped prevent conflict for four decades.  And we continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side.

We support an African Union-led peace process to end the fight in Ethiopia and restore security for all its people.

In Venezuela, where years of the political oppression have driven more than 6 million people from that country, we urge a Venezuelan-led dialogue and a return to free and fair elections.

We continue to stand with our neighbor in Haiti as it faces political-fueled gang violence and an enormous human crisis.

And we call on the world to do the same.  We have more to do.

We’ll continue to back the U.N.-mediated truce in Yemen, which has delivered precious months of peace to people that have suffered years of war.

And we will continue to advocate for lasting negotiating peace between the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the Palestinian people. The United States is committed to Israels security, full stop.  And a negotiated two-state solution remains, in our view, the best way to ensure IsraelҒs security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state which - to which they are entitled - both sides to fully respect the equal rights of their citizens; both people enjoying equal measure of freedom and dignity.

Let me also urge every nation to recommit to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime through diplomacy.  No matter what else is happening in the world, the United States is ready to pursue critical arms control measures.  A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

The five permanent members of the Security Council just reaffirmed that commitment in January.  But today, were seeing disturbing trends.  Russia shunned the Non-Proliferation ideals embraced by every other nation at the 10th NPT Review Conference.

And again, today, as I said, theyҒre making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.  China is conducting an unprecedented, concerning nuclear buildup without any transparency.

Despite our efforts to begin serious and sustained diplomacy, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea continues to blatantly violate U.N. sanctions.

And while the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.  The nonproliferation regime is one of the greatest successes of this institution.  We cannot let the world now slide backwards, nor can we turn a blind eye to the EROSION of human rights.

Perhaps singular among this body’s achievements stands the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, which is the standard by which our forebears challenged us to measure ourselves.

They made clear in 1948: Human rights are the basis for all that we seek to achieve.  And yet today, in 2022, fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world, from the violations of in Xinjiang detailed in recent reports by the Office of U.N. ח U.S.  reports detailing by the U.S. [U.N.] High Commissioner, to the horrible abuses against pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities by the military regime in Burma, to the increased repression of women and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

And today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.

But hereגs what I know: The future will be won by those countries that unleash the full potential of their populations, where women and girls can exercise equal rights, including basic reproductive rights, and contribute fully to building a stronger economies and more resilient societies; where religious and ethnic minorities can live their lives without harassment and contribute to the fabric of their communities; where the LGBTQ+ community individuals live and love freely without being targeted with violence; where citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisal.

The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter in our own country and around the world.

Let me end with this: This institution, guided by the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at its core an act of dauntless hope.

Let me say that again: It’s an act of dauntless hope.

Think about the vision of those first delegates who undertook a seemingly impossible task while the world was still smoldering.

Think about how divided the people of the world must have felt with the fresh grief of millions dead, the genocidal horrors of the Holocaust exposed.

They had every right to believe only the worst of humanity.  Instead, they reached for what was best in all of us, and they strove to build something better: enduring peace; comity among nations; equal rights for every member of the human family; cooperation for the advancement of all humankind.

My fellow leaders, the challenges we face today are great indeed, but our capacity is greater.  Our commitment must be greater still.

So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it.

WE’RE NOT PASSIVE WITNESSES to history; WE ARE the authors of history.

We can do this - we have to do it - for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.

Thank you for your tolerance, for listening to me.  I appreciate it very much.  God bless you all.

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Bad Moon Rising Part 85 - Infrastructure Cyber-Threat III

image electric grid scada

Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 36

China is now flexing its post-Olympic power with an aggressive new cyberespionage campaign, targeting government, military and civilians with equal force. If you use Windows, the Chinese Communist Party to knows how to hack into your laptop. If you have friends and associates in China, theyre reading your e-mails.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 44

US Fed Warns Hackers Have Developed Tool Targeting Industrial Control Systems
A warning was issued on the grounds that certain advanced persistent threat actors have developed custom-made tools to gain full system access to multiple ICS and SCADA devices.

By Dashveenjit Kaur
Tech HQ
April 14, 2022

A warning was issued on the grounds that certain advanced persistent threat actors have developed custom-made tools to gain full system access to multiple ICS and SCADA devices.

· Known as PIPEDREAM, the malware toolkit is said to be the most versatile tool ever made to target industrial control systems like power grids and oil refineries

· The DOE, CISA, NSA, and the FBI are all urging critical infrastructure organizations, especially energy sector organizations, to implement the detection and mitigation recommendations provided to detect potential malicious APT activity and harden their ICS/SCADA devices

Industrial control systems (ICS) are essential for the steady functioning of critical infrastructures such as the energy and water grid or the manufacturing sector. Therefore, when an attack is launched on ICS, the consequences are often far-reaching, just like then a ransomware attack TARGETED COLONIAL PIPELINE INC in the US mid-last year.

THAT ATTACK brought the entire facility to a complete halt for a few days which then inevitably caused an ACUTE FUEL SHORTAGE, while prices soared through the roof. It is unfortunate though that threat actors are increasingly shifting their focus from information technology (IT) to what ICS is often referred to as OPERATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (OT).

This puts the CRITICAL INDUSTRIAL INFRASTRUCTURE OWNED BY THE STATE AND PRIVATE ENTITIES AT HIGH RISK of destructive cyberattacks that can cause severe economic damage. Predictably, governments across the world can only urge private entities to toughen their CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE DEFENSES - while taking steps to improve national cyberspace security.

Hence why in the US, the Department of Energy (DOE) alongside the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) yesterday to warn critical infrastructure owners of a tool developed by hackers to TARGET ICS like power grids and oil refineries.

“DOE, CISA, NSA, and the FBI warn that certain advanced persistent threat (APT) actors have exhibited the capability to gain full system access to multiple ICS/supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices,” the statement reads.

The tools, according to the officials, enable the threat actors to scan for, compromise, and control affected devices once they have established initial access to the OT network. “Additionally, the actors can compromise Windows-based engineering workstations, which may be present in INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OR OT ENVIRONMENTS, using an exploit that compromises an ASRock motherboard driver with known vulnerabilities,” they said.

By compromising and maintaining full system access to ICS/SCADA devices, DOE, CISA, NSA, and the FBI said APT actors could elevate privileges, move laterally within an OT environment, and disrupt critical devices or functions. Therefore, the CSA urges critical infrastructure organizations, especially energy sector organizations, to implement the detection and mitigation recommendations provided to detect potential malicious APT activity and harden their ICS/SCADA devices.

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Posted by Elvis on 04/14/22 •
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Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Bad Moon Rising Part 84 - Russian Ruble

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How Russia Rescued The Ruble

By Paddy Hirsch
NPR
April 5, 2022

Russia said last week that it wants the European countries that buy its natural gas to MAKE THEIR PAYMENTS IN RUBLES, rather than dollars or euros. A month ago that might have seemed like a pretty good deal: the ruble was down 40 percent, at 139 rubles to the dollar, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since that low point on March 7, however, the Russian ruble has staged a dramatic recovery. At the time of writing, it was trading at 84 to the dollar, which is right back where it was at the time of the invasion. And this is no DEAD CAT BOUNCE. It’s a sharp and sustained recovery that made the ruble the TOP PERFORMING CURRENCY in the world in the month of March.

And yet, all of the sanctions imposed when the war began are still in place, and in some cases they’re even more robust. So how have the Russians managed to revive their currency?

The Hole in the Wall Gang

There are several components to this recovery. The first is thanks to the enormous hole in the sanctions imposed by the coalition of countries allied with the United States: natural gas. The sanctions are designed to restrict Russia’s ability to acquire foreign currency, and dollars and euros in particular. But several European countries continue to buy Russian gas, because they have become so dependent on it, and there are not enough alternative suppliers to meet demand.

Add to that the increase in oil and natural gas prices and the resilience of Russia’s trading relations with other big economies like China and INDIA, and the net result is that there is still a steady flow of foreign currency into Russia. That has eased concerns that Russia would become insolvent, and it has helped put a floor under the ruble.

There’s another hole in the sanctions that’s worth mentioning here: the sovereign debt carve out. One of the biggest and most impactful sanctions on Russia was the freezing of its foreign accounts. Russia holds about $640 billion worth of euros, dollars, yen and other foreign currencies in banks around the world. About half that amount is located in the US and Europe. The sanctions blocked Russia’s access to that money ... except when it comes to making the interest payments on its sovereign debt. The US Treasury LEFT A WINDOW OPEN to allow financial intermediaries to process payments for Russia. That windowis scheduled to close this month, but it has been a big help to Russia. Without it, Russia might have needed to raise dollars by selling rubles, which would have put downward pressure on the currency. And were it not able to raise those dollars, it would have defaulted.

Those are the tangible, external factors driving the ruble’s recovery. The internal factors are somewhat less corporeal. On February 28, the Central Bank of Russia increased interest rates to 20 percent. Any Russian who might have been tempted to sell their rubles and buy dollars or euros now has a big incentive to save that money instead. The fewer rubles that go up for sale, the less downward pressure there is on the currency.

Financial alchemy

Those are the tangible, external factors driving the ruble’s recovery. The internal factors are somewhat less corporeal. On February 28, the Central Bank of Russia increased INTEREST RATES TO 20 PERCENT. Any Russian who might have been tempted to sell their rubles and buy dollars or euros now has a big incentive to save that money instead. The fewer rubles that go up for sale, the less downward pressure there is on the currency.

Next comes a government requirement on Russian businesses that 80 percent of any money that those businesses make overseas has to be SWAPPED INTO RUBLES. This means that a Russian steelmaker that makes a hundred million euros selling steel to a company in France has to turn around and change 80 million of those euros into rubles, regardless of the exchange rate. There are a lot of Russian companies doing a lot of business with foreign companies, making a lot of euros and dollars and yen. The order to convert 80 percent of those revenues to rubles creates significant demand for the Russian currency, thus helping to prop it up.

The Kremlin also issued an edict BANNING RUSSIAN BROKERS from selling securities owned by foreigners. Many foreign investors own Russian corporate shares and government bonds, and they might understandably want to sell those securities. By banning those sales, the government is shoring up both the stock and bond markets, and keeping money inside the country, all of which helps keep the ruble from falling.

Russian citizens themselves have been targeted by the government, which has RESTRICTED THEM from transferring money abroad. The initial ban said all foreign exchange loans and transfers were to be suspended. This served to keep foreign currency in the country and discourage Russians from selling rubles for dollars or euros, which would put pressure on the currency. Those restrictions have been EASED SOMEWHAT recently, to give breathing room to Russians who regularly send money abroad, but conversions of hard currency are limited to just $10,000 for individuals through the end of this year.

Perhaps the biggest factor juicing the ruble is a risky ploy by Vladimir Putin that we mentioned at the top of the newsletter: telling certain buyers of Russian natural gas that they must henceforth PAY THEIR GAS BILLS IN RUBLES. Natural gas contracts are usually written requiring payment in euros or dollars, and the countries who buy natural gas - the European Union, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan - tend not to have big reserves of rubles on hand. So if Putin is successful in forcing these countries to pay in rubles, they’re going to have to go out and buy them. A lot of them. Demand for the currency will surge, and the price of the ruble will naturally rise. It’s the anticipation of that rise that has helped drive the market value of the ruble higher.

A Potemkin Currency

You could say that these moves by the Russian government are just business as usual. After all, the Federal Reserve tweaks interest rates all the time. The U.S. Treasury has restrictions on remittances TO CERTAIN COUNTRIES. And why shouldn’t a country be able to stipulate what currency it gets paid in? And don’t governments have a responsibility to DEFEND THEIR CURRENCIES anyway? All fair points. What the Russian government is up to here, though, is more than defense of a currency: it is manipulating the market for rubles, and manufacturing demand that would not otherwise exist.

Some observers are saying that Russia has essentially created a POTEMKIN CURRENCY. This is a reference to Grigory Potemkin, who was appointed governor of Crimea after it was annexed by Catherine the Great in 1784. Eager to show Catherine how successful he had been in resettling Crimea with Russian villagers, Potemkin SUPPOSEDLY built and populated a mobile village which he assembled, disassembled and then reassembled along her route as she inspected the region. The governor of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, is essentially playing Potemkin to Putin’s Catherine, using a range of tools to make the ruble look like a currency that has value, whilst in fact very few people outside of Russia want to buy a single ruble unless they absolutely have to, and many people inside Russia DON’T REALLY WANT RUBLES EITHER.

There are big risks to all this government intervention. The protectionist measures enacted by the CBR are effectively a kind of bridge for the ruble. If Russia manages to come to some kind of resolution over Ukraine that involves the withdrawal of sanctions and the reestablishment of trade relations with the West, then the ruble might hold its current value once the measures are withdrawn. If the measures are withdrawn without some kind of resolution, however, the ruble could collapse, hammering the economy, jacking up inflation and causing enormous pain to the Russian people. And the measures - some of them, at least - will have to be withdrawn eventually. Russian borrowers can’t keep paying interest rates of more than 20 percent for long, if they can even conceive of borrowing at that price. Growth will be stifled - the Russian economy is already expected to contract by MORE THAN EIGHT PERCENT this year - and industry will slump.

Perhaps the greatest risks are those associated with Putin’s natural gas ploy. As we said before, the natural gas contracts that buyers have signed with Russia all say that payment will be made in euros or dollars or other foreign currencies. Putin can’t just cross out “dollars” or “euros” and writein “rubles” where those contracts stipulate how to pay. He has to RENEGOTIATE TERMS OF THOSE CONTRACTS. And if he does so, it’s likely that those countries will drastically reduce the amount of natural gas they buy from Russia.

Russia is the world’s biggest producer of natural gas, and the biggest exporter, but it’s not the only source out there, and buyers of Russian gas could pivot to new suppliers. The US is ALREADY SENDING SHIPMENTS to Europe. THERE’S TALK about supply coming from the UK, Norway, Qatar and Azerbaijan. Israel is MULLING THE IDEA of a pipeline. The countries that buy large amounts of Russian gas probably couldn’t all wean themselves off it overnight, but if Russia insists on making this move, it risks turning one of its biggest revenue streams into a trickle. In short, the problem with creating a facade - as Russia has done with its currency - is not just that it might collapse, it might also collapse on you.

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Monday, March 28, 2022

Bad Moon Rising Part 83 - Russia-China Partnership and Ukraine

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Washington is picking a fight with Russia, because Washington is committed to the neoconservative doctrine that History has chosen Washington to exercise hegemony over the world. The US is the “exceptional and indispensable” country, the Uni-power chosen to impose Washington’s will on the world.

Washington plans to turn Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan, when the Carter administration, under the influence of the Svengali-like National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, equipped and armed the radical jihadists that would morph into the Taliban and al Qaeda in the fight against the Soviets. It will not be good for Russia. It will not be good for the United States. It will not be good for Ukraine, as making Russia bleed will require rivers of Ukrainian blood. The decision to destroy the Russian economy, to turn the Ukrainian war into a quagmire for Russia and topple the regime of Vladimir Putin will open a Pandora’s box of evils. Massive social engineering - look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Vietnam - has its own centrifugal force. It destroys those who play God.

This ideology governs US foreign policy and requires war in its defense. In the 1990s Paul Wolfowitz enshrined THE WOLFOWITZ DOCTRINE into US military and foreign policy. In its most bold form, the Doctrine states:  “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
- A Prescription for Peace and Prosperity, Paul Craig Roberts, 2015

President Biden on Saturday [March 26, 2022] said that Russian President Vladimir Putin can’t remain in power, hitting the autocrat over the destruction the American leader says Putin is wreaking on the Ukrainian people.

“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness. “We will have a different future, a brighter future, rooted in democracy and principles, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom, and possibilities,” Biden said during a SPEECH in front of the Polish presidential palace Saturday night, local time. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
- Biden declares Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in fiery Warsaw remarks, The Hill, March 26, 2022

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Russia-China Partnership Agreement

Asia Today
February 11, 2022

On February 4, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have signed a joint statement in Beijing before the Winter Olympics opening ceremony held in China. This statement was accepted as a bold declaration of the “New World Order” and the partnership between the two states WITHOUT ANY LIMITATIONS. The statement can be divided into four parts: the manifest on the new world order, Grand Eurasian Partnership, the United States (US) aggression, and cooperation against US aggression. It should be noted that it is much more an inclusive agreement and will change the balance of power in world politics. THE CONTENT OF THE CONTRACT can be summarized as in the following:

· About the New World Order, the sides believed that a new period has started in international relations, and global society demands a new international order based on development in a multi-polar world. Also, the sides suggested that multi-lateral ties have been quite significant in foreign policy and aimed at developing global governance. In addition to that, they offered a powerful United Nations is needed to provide multi-polar in international relations. In addition to that, the G20 format was supported instead of G7 since it is much more inclusive. Also, China and Russia believed that they played and will play an active role in the WTO.

· On Grand Eurasian Partnership, the sides have declared that the relations between the two countries are much stronger than it was in the Cold War Period. Also, China’s continuing economic and political project is known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). In the statement, it was claimed that following the BRI, a new Grand Eurasian Partnership would be established, contributing to cultural, economic, political, and historical relations of the region.

· China and Russia have declared that they are against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it approached the Black Sea region and started to try to contain Russia in the latest UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT. The sides believe that NATO is following the mentality of the Cold War period; however, as mentioned before, the world order is changing, as they suggested. Besides NATO, the sides indicated that the policies of the US in the India-Pacific region are dangerous and threatening the peace-building attempts in the Asia-Pacific region. They claimed that Russia and China are concerned about the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS), which provides for deeper cooperation between its members in areas involving strategic stability, in particular their decision to initiate collaboration in the field of NUCLEAR POWERED SUBMARINES.

· On the other hand, the most crucial element of the joint declaration was the alliance against the US. The sides declared that the US could escalate the colorful revolutions in the region and stand against that. Also, the sides have put their views on contrasting against terrorism, that they will not let politicization of terrorism, and using terrorism as a tool of interrupting the domestic politics of any country. The two countries highlighted that they would stand against the sanctions of the US by struggling with economic inequality.

Some responses were given after the declaration of that Joint Statement. The US officials stated that, with the Joint Statement, China’s Xi Jinping could not protect Russia from sanctions. On the other hand, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne criticized the alliance by saying, “The joint statement lays out a vision of the world that differs from Australia’s and our allies and partners, and I’m convinced it includes all of our Quad partners.” Also, in an interview with the ABC on Wednesday, she claimed that the tight security situation at the Russia-Ukraine border did not overshadow the importance the US places on the Indo-Pacific region. Further, Russia and China have slammed the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, rejecting the establishment of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region. She said Australia is very worried about the Russian military build-up along the Ukraine border and called for a reciprocal conversation to de-escalate the situation. The chair of the UK’s parliamentary defense committee, Tobias Ellwood, also claimed that “Russia provides oil, gas and military hardware. China, in return, provides advanced technology, he wrote, adding that: “Today, we are seeing the birth of a potent anti-democratic alliance. It is on track to see the world shear into two spheres of competing influence. And we have let it happen.”

SOURCE

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A Manufactured World Crisis

By Ron Raul
Ron Paul Institute
March 27, 2022

Few people today ask the most important question about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Many people want America to stay out of the fight, but even they don’t ask the vital question. Why does the world face a crisis today? Why has a border dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalated to the point where people fear nuclear war?

The answer is simple. America, under the “leadership” of brain-dead Biden and the forces controlling him, has done this and, by doing so, brought the world to the brink of disaster. As always, the great Dr. Ron Paul gets it right:

Three weeks into this terrible war, the US is not pursuing talks with Russia. As AS ANTIWAR.COM RECENTLY REPORTED, instead of supporting negotiations between Ukraine and Russia that could lead to a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed, the US government is actually escalating the situation which can only increase the bloodshed.

The constant flow of US and allied weapons into Ukraine and talk of supporting an extended insurgency does not seem designed to give Ukraine a victory on the battlefield but rather to hand Russia what Secretary of State Blinken called “a strategic defeat.”

It sounds an awful lot like the THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION INTENDS TO FIGHT RUSSIA DOWN TO THE LAST UKRANIAN. The only solution for the US is to get out. Let the Russians and Ukrainians reach an agreement. That means no NATO for Ukraine and no US missiles on Russia’s borders? So what! End the war then end NATO.

Let’s look at an analogy that will help us understand Dr. PaulҒs point. For years, the Ukrainian government has attacked an area in the Donbas region that has seceded from Ukraine and formed an independent, pro-Russian, republic. Just before Putin moved against Ukraine, Ukraianians increased the scale and scope of their attack. Rick Rozoff describes what they did:

“Two-thirds of Ukrainian army servicemen have been amassed along the Donbas contact line, Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) militia, said on Thursday.

Another three brigades are on their way [to Donbas], which is 20,000 to 25,000 troops more. The total number will reach 150,000, not to mention the nationalists. This is about two-thirds of Ukrainian Armed ForcesҒ personnel, Basurin said on the Rossiya 1 television channel (VGTRK) on Thursday.”

Unlike what has just happened, the Ukrainian attack did not result in US sanctions on Ukraine. There were no meetings of the UN to condemn Ukrainian aggression. There was no talk of world war. On the contrary, UkraineҒs government used American weapons in its attack and asked America for more weapons to continue their attack. Lets listen to Rick Rozoff again:

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine used the American anti-tank missile system Javelin in the hostilities in Donbas. This was announced by the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kirill Budanov in an interview.

Budanov said that ideally, the U.S. would help deter any Russian incursion, through additional military aid and increased diplomatic and economic pressure, including more sanctions against Russia and the seizure and blocking of Russian banking accounts.

Also, in addition to U.S. aid already promised and delivered, including Mark VI patrol boats, Javelin anti-armor systems and AN/TPQ-53 light counter-fire radar systems, Ukraine seeks additional air, missile and drone defense systems and electronic jamming devices, Budonov said. Patriot missile batteries and counter rocket, artillery and mortar systems are on Ukraine’s wish list.

The AN/TPQ-53 systems were used to great effect, Ukraine military officials have PREVIOUSLY REPORTED. Budanov said the Javelin systems have also been used against Russian forces. Those, along with Turkish-manufactured drones, used against Russian-aligned separatist artillery troops, have a significant psychological deterrent value, said Budanov.

Why the difference? We think that the US should not have shipped arms to Ukraine. Doing this made the situation worse. But for what we’re saying now, it doesn’t matter what you think of the policy. The key point is that because there was no international outcry and no sanctions, the matter remained a local fight. If brain-dead Biden and his gang had reacted to the so-called “Russian invasion” in the same way, the matter would have remained a local quarrel. Russia and Ukraine would have made a deal and that would be that.

The neocon warmongers and other defenders of “democracy,” who unfortunately include some deluded “libertarians” object. Don’t we have a duty to resist “aggression?” The answer is clear: No, we don’t. We do not have a duty to evaluate every foreign quarrel and assess who is at fault. We do not have a duty to require leaders of regimes we, or rather our masters in Washington, don’t like to accept existing boundaries of countries as unchangeable. We should reject the false doctrine of “collective security,” which makes every border dispute a world war. The great American historian Charles Beard recognized what was wrong with “collective security” in the 1930s. In his article, GIDDY MINDS AND FOREIGN QUARRELS he asked:

“On what should the foreign policy of the United States be based? Here is one answer and it is not excogitated in any professor’s study or supplied by political agitators. It is the doctrine formulated by George Washington, supplemented by James Monroe, and followed by the Government of the United States until near the end of the nineteenth century, when the frenzy for foreign adventurism burst upon the country. This doctrine is simple. Europe has a set of ‘primary interests’ which have little or no relation to us, and is constantly vexed by ‘ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice.’

The United States is a continental power separated from Europe by a wide ocean which, despite all changes in warfare, is still a powerful asset of defense. In the ordinary or regular vicissitudes of European politics the United States should not become implicated by any permanent ties. We should promote commerce, but force ‘nothing.’ We should steer dear of hates and loves. We should maintain correct and formal relations with all established governments without respect to their forms or their religions, whether Christian, Mohammedan, Shinto, or what have you.

BEARD THEN RESPONDED to those who wanted to scrap our traditional policy of non-intervention with “collective security”:

“In the rest of the world, outside this hemisphere, our interests are remote and our power to enforce our will is relatively slight. Nothing we can do for Europeans will substantially increase our trade or add to our, or their, well-being. Nothing we can do for Asiatics will materially increase our trade or add to our, or their, well-being. With all countries in Europe and Asia, our relations should be formal and correct. As individuals we may indulge in hate and love, but the Government of the United States embarks on stormy seas when it begins to love one power and hate another officially.”

We should heed Beard’s wisdom today. Otherwise, the world may go up in flames.

SOURCE

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Waltzing Toward Armageddon with the Merchants of Death
The doctrine of permanent war dominated our lives during the Cold War and dominates our lives now.

By Chris Hedges
Sheerpost
March 14, 2022

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the worlds chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism.

That is why they have resurrected it.

The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”

This provocation, a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, has seen Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia inducted into the Western military alliance. This betrayal was compounded by a decision to station NATO troops, including thousands of US troops, in Eastern Europe, another violation of an agreement made by Washington with Moscow. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps a cynical goal of the Western alliance, has now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism. The masters of war may be ecstatic, but the potential consequences, including a global conflagration, are terrifying.

Peace has been sacrificed for US global hegemony. It has been sacrificed for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen.

So what if the Amazon is reaching its final tipping point where trees will soon begin to die off en masse. So what if land ice and ice shelves are melting from below at a much faster rate than predicted. So what if temperatures soar, monster hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires devastate the earth. In the face of the gravest existential crisis to beset the human species, and most other species, the ruling elites stoke a conflict that is driving up the price of oil and turbocharging the fossil fuel extraction industry. It is collective madness.

The march towards protracted conflict with Russia and China will backfire. The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the US will not be offset by military dominance. If Russia and China can create an alternative global financial system, one that does not use the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, it will signal the collapse of the American empire. The dollar will plummet in value. Treasury bonds, used to fund America’s massive debt, will become largely worthless. The financial sanctions used to cripple Russia will be, I expect, the mechanism that slays us, if we don’t first immolate ourselves in thermonuclear war.

The march towards protracted conflict with Russia and China will backfire. The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the US will not be offset by military dominance. If Russia and China can create an alternative global financial system, one that does not use the US dollar as the worlds reserve currency, it will signal the collapse of the American empire. The dollar will plummet in value. Treasury bonds, used to fund America’s massive debt, will become largely worthless. The financial sanctions used to cripple Russia will be, I expect, the mechanism that slays us, if we dont first immolate ourselves in thermonuclear war.

Washington plans to turn Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan, when the Carter administration, under the influence of the Svengali-like National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, equipped and armed the radical jihadists that would morph into the Taliban and al Qaeda in the fight against the Soviets. It will not be good for Russia. It will not be good for the United States. It will not be good for Ukraine, as making Russia bleed will require rivers of Ukrainian blood. The decision to destroy the Russian economy, to turn the Ukrainian war into a quagmire for Russia and topple the regime of Vladimir Putin will open a Pandoras box of evils. Massive social engineering - look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Vietnam has its own centrifugal force. It destroys those who play God.

The Ukrainian war has silenced the last vestiges of the Left. Nearly everyone has giddily signed on for the great crusade against the latest embodiment of evil, Vladimir Putin, who, like all our enemies, has become the new Hitler. The United States will give $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with the Biden administration authorizing on Saturday an additional $200 million in military assistance. The 5,000-strong EU rapid deployment force, the recruitment of all Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, into NATO, the reconfiguration of former Soviet Bloc militaries to NATO weapons and technology have all been fast tracked. Germany, for the first time since World War II, is massively rearming. It has lifted its ban on exporting weapons. Its new military budget is twice the amount of the old budget, with promises to raise the budget to more than 2 percent of GDP, which would move its military from the seventh largest in the world to the third-, behind China and the United States. NATO battlegroups are being doubled in size in the Baltic states to more than 6,000 troops. Battlegroups will be sent to Romania and Slovakia. Washington will double the number of U.S. troops stationed in Poland to 9,000. Sweden and Finland are considering dropping their neutral status to integrate with NATO.

This is a recipe for global war. History, as well as all the conflicts I covered as a war correspondent, have demonstrated that when military posturing begins, it often takes little to set the funeral pyre alight. One mistake. One overreach. One military gamble too many. One too many provocations. One act of desperation.

Russias threat to attack weapons convoys to Ukraine from the West; its air strike on a military base in western Ukraine, 12 miles from the Polish border, which is a staging area for foreign mercenaries; the statement by Polish President Andrzej Duda that the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical weapons, by Russia against Ukraine, would be a “game-changer” that could force NATO to rethink its decision to refrain from direct military intervention - all are ominous developments pushing the alliance closer to open warfare with Russia.

Once military forces are deployed, even if they are supposedly in a defensive posture, the bear trap is set. It takes very little to trigger the spring. The vast military bureaucracy, bound to alliances and international commitments, along with detailed plans and timetables, when it starts to roll forward, becomes unstoppable. It is propelled not by logic but by action and reaction, as Europe learned in two world wars.

The moral hypocrisy of the United States is staggering. The crimes Russia is carrying out in Ukraine are more than matched by the crimes committed by Washington in the Middle East over the last two decades, including the act of preemptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal act of aggression. Only rarely is this hypocrisy exposed as when US Ambassador to the United Nations LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD TOLD THE BODY: “Weve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs which are banned under the Geneva Convention.” Hours later, the official transcriptof her remark was amended to tack on the words ”IF THEY ARE AGAINST CIVILIANS.” This is because the U.S., which like Russia never ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty, regularly uses cluster munitions. It used them in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq. It has provided them to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Russia has yet to come close to the tally of civilian deaths from cluster munitions delivered by the US military.

The Dr. Strangeloves, like zombies rising from the mass graves they created around the globe, are once again stoking new campaigns of industrial mass slaughter. No diplomacy. No attempt to address the legitimate grievances of our adversaries. No check on rampant militarism. No capacity to see the world from another perspective. No ability to comprehend reality outside the confines of the binary rubric of good and evil. No understanding of the debacles they orchestrated for decades. No capacity for pity or remorse.

Elliot Abrams worked in the Reagan administration when I was reporting from Central America. He covered up atrocities and massacres committed by the military regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and by the US-backed Contra forces fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. He viciously attacked reporters and human rights groups as communists or fifth columnists, calling us “un-American” and “unpatriotic.” He was convicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra affair. During the administration of George W. Bush, he lobbied for the invasion of Iraq and tried to orchestrate a U.S. coup in Venezuela to overthrow HUGO CHAVEZ.

“There will be no substitute for military strength, and we do not have enough,” writes Abrams for the COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, where he is a senior fellow: “It should be crystal clear now that a larger percentage of GDP will need to be spent on defense. We will need more conventional strength in ships and planes. We will need to match the Chinese in advanced military technology, but at the other end of the spectrum, we may need many more tanks if we have to station thousands in Europe, as we did during the Cold War. (The total number of American tanks permanently stationed in Europe today is zero.) Persistent efforts to diminish even further the size of our nuclear arsenal or prevent its modernization were always bad ideas, but now, as China and Russia are modernizing their nuclear weaponry and appear to have no interest in negotiating new limits, such restraints should be completely abandoned. Our nuclear arsenal will need to be modernized and expanded so that we will never face the kinds of threats Putin is now making from a position of real nuclear inferiority.”

Putin played into the hands of the war industry. He gave the warmongers what they wanted. He fulfilled their wildest fantasies. There will be no impediments now on the march to Armageddon. Military budgets will soar. The oil will gush from the ground. The climate crisis will accelerate. China and Russia will form the new axis of evil. The poor will be abandoned. The roads across the earth will be clogged with desperate refugees. All dissent will be treason. The young will be sacrificed for the tired tropes of glory, honor, and country. The vulnerable will suffer and die. The only true patriots will be generals, war profiteers, opportunists, courtiers in the media and demagogues braying for more and more blood. The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods.  And we, cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria, clamor for our own annihilation.

SOURCE

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Friday, February 25, 2022

Bad Moon Rising Part 82 - Ukraine Invasion

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The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.
- Wolfowitz Doctrine

Think back to 2014 when the US overthrew the Ukrainian government and installed a neo-Nazi regime. The neocons were smirking, laughing at how easy it was to buffalo the Russians. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland publicly bragged about how the US had spent $5 billion dollars preparing the overthrow of Ukraine. Much cheering of how Ukraine would now be used to destabilize Russia and seize the Russian Black Sea naval base.

After a long frustrating, humiliating 8 years of trying to get the West’s attention that this was not a scheme Russia could accept, and after one last effort which got nowhere, Russia has acted.

In his SPEECH this morning Putin explained the long years of Russian frustration in her efforts to achieve mutual security with the West which remained intent on its own domination.
- They didn’t hear what we told them. They had better hear this time, Paul Craig Roberts, February 24, 2022

The Washington Post asked: “Why is there tension between Russia and Ukraine?” Its answer: In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. A month later, war erupted between Russian-allied separatists and Ukraines military in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The United Nations human rights office estimates that more than 13,000 people have been killed… But that account is highly misleading, because it leaves out the crucial role the US has played in escalating tensions in the region. In nearly every case we looked at, the reports omitted the US’s extensive role in the 2014 coup that preceded Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Focusing on the latter part only serves to manufacture consent for US intervention abroad.
- What You Should Really Know About Ukraine

Understand that this is not about reabsorbing Donbass into Russia like Crimea, but merely recognizing the republics as independent countries. This will give the protection of international law to the republics, and Russia being a stickler for international law, unlike the West, will see that law defends the republics.
- Russia Has Given Up On Negotiations and Will Resolve the Donbass Issue by Recognizing the Independence of the Republics, Paul Craig Roberts, February 21, 2022.

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NATO leaves little room for diplomacy: How the war machine upped the ante in Ukraine
A new European security framework is desperately needed in this moment

By Norman Soloman
Truthout
February 24, 2022

Nearly 60 years ago, Bob Dylan recorded “With God on Our Side.” You probably haven’t heard it on the radio in a very long time, if ever, but right now you could listen to it as his most evergreen of topical songs:

I’ve learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
Its them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

In recent days, media coverage of a possible summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin has taken on almost wistful qualities, as though the horsemen of the apocalypse are already out of the barn. Fatalism is easy for the laptop warriors and blow-dried studio pundits who keep insisting on the need to get tough with “the Russians,” by which they mean the Russian government. Actual people who suffer and die in war, meanwhile, easily become faraway abstractions.

“And you never ask questions / When Gods on your side.”

During the last six decades, the religiosity of U.S. militarism has faded into a more generalized set of assumptions shared, in the current crisis, across traditional political spectrums. Ignorance about NATOҗs history feeds into the good vs. evil bromides that are too easy to ingest and internalize.

On Capitol Hill, its hard to find a single member of Congress willing to call NATO what it has long been: an alliance for war (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya) with virtually nothing to do with Ғdefense other than the defense of vast weapons sales and, at times, even fantasies of regime change in Russia.

The reverence and adulation gushing from the Capitol and corporate media (including NPR and PBS) toward NATO and its U.S. leadership are wonders of thinly veiled jingoism. About other societies, reviled ones especially, this would be deemed Ӕpropaganda. Here the supposed truisms are laundered and flat-ironed as common sense.

Glimmers of inconvenient truth have flickered only rarely in mainstream U.S. media outlets, while a bit more likely in Europe.

“Biden has said repeatedly that the U.S. is open to diplomacy with Russia, but on the issue that Moscow has most emphasized - NATO enlargement - there has been no American diplomacy at all, Jeffrey Sachs WROTE in the Financial Times as this week began. “Putin has repeatedly demanded that the U.S. forswear NATO’s enlargement into Ukraine, while Biden has repeatedly asserted that membership of the alliance is Ukraine’s choice.”

As Sachs noted, “Russia has adamantly opposed NATO EXPANSION towards the east for 30 years, first under Boris Yeltsin and now Putin. Neither the U.S. nor Russia wants the others military on their doorstep. Pledging “no NATO expansion” is not appeasement. It does not cede Ukrainian territory. It does not undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Speaking Monday on Democracy Now, Katrina vanden Heuvel - editorial director of The Nation and a longtime Russia expert said that implementing the MINSK ACCORDS COULD BE A PATH TOWARDS PEACE in Ukraine. Also, she pointed out, “there is talk now not just of the NATO issue, which is so key, but also a new security architecture in Europe.”

A new European security framework, to demilitarize and defuse conflicts between Russia and U.S. allies, is desperately needed. But the same approach that for three decades pushed to expand NATO to Russia’s borders is now gung-ho to keep upping the ante, no matter how much doing so increases the chances of a direct clash between the worlds two nuclear-weapons superpowers.

The last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union before it collapsed, Jack Matlock, wrote last week: “Since President Putin’s major demand is an assurance that NATO will take no further members, and specifically not Ukraine or Georgia, obviously there would have been no basis for the present crisis if there had been no expansion of the alliance following the end of the Cold War, or if the expansion had occurred in harmony with building a security structure in Europe that included Russia.” But excluding Russia from security structures, while encircling it with armed-to-the-teeth adversaries, was a clear goal of NATO’s expansion. Less obvious was the realized goal of turning Eastern European nations into customers for vast arms sales.

A gripping chapter in “The Spoils of War,” a new book by Andrew Cockburn, spells out the mega-corporate zeal behind the massive campaigns to expand NATO beginning in the 1990s. Huge Pentagon contractors like Lockheed Martin were downcast about the dissolution of the USSR and feared that military sales would keep slumping. But there were some potential big new markets on the horizon.

ӔOne especially promising market was among the former members of the defunct Warsaw Pact, Cockburn wrote. ӔWere they to join NATO, they would be natural customers for products such as the F-16 fighter that Lockheed had inherited from General Dynamics. There was one minor impediment: the [George H. W.] Bush administration had already promised Moscow that NATO would not move east, a pledge that was part of the settlement ending the Cold War.

By the time legendary foreign-policy sage George F. Kennan issued his unequivocal warning in 1997 - “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era” the expansion was already happening. As Cockburn notes, “By 2014, the 12 new members had purchased close to $17 billion worth of American weapons. If you think those weapons transactions were about keeping up with the Russians, you’ve been trusting way too much U.S. corporate media.” As of late 2020,Cockburns book explains, NATO’s collective military spending had hit $1.03 trillion, or roughly 20 times Russia’s military budget.

So let’s leave the last words here at this solemn time to Bob Dylan, from another song that isnt on radio playlists: “Masters of War.”

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?

SOURCE

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Chronicle of a War Foretold

By Chris Hedges
Sheerpost
February 24, 2022

I was in Eastern Europe in 1989, reporting on the revolutions that overthrew the ossified communist dictatorships that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a time of hope. NATO, with the breakup of the Soviet empire, became obsolete. President Mikhail Gorbachev reached out to Washington and Europe to build a new security pact that would include Russia. Secretary of State James Baker in the Reagan administration, along with the West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, assured the Soviet leader that if Germany was unified NATO would not be extended beyond the new borders. The commitment not to expand NATO, also made by Great Britain and France, appeared to herald a new global order. We saw the peace dividend dangled before us, the promise that the massive expenditures on weapons that characterized the Cold War would be converted into expenditures on social programs and infrastructures that had long been neglected to feed the insatiable appetite of the military.

There was a near universal understanding among diplomats and political leaders at the time that any attempt to expand NATO was foolish, an unwarranted provocation against Russia that would obliterate the ties and bonds that happily emerged at the end of the Cold War.

How naive we were. The war industry did not intend to shrink its power or its profits. It set out almost immediately to recruit the former Communist Bloc countries into the European Union and NATO. Countries that joined NATO, which now include Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia were forced to reconfigure their militaries, often through hefty loans, to become compatible with NATO military hardware.

There would be no peace dividend. The expansion of NATO swiftly became a multi-billion-dollar bonanza for the corporations that had profited from the Cold War. (Poland, for example, just agreed to spend $ 6 billion on M1 Abrams tanks and other U.S. military equipment.) If Russia would not acquiesce to again being the enemy, then Russia would be pressured into becoming the enemy. And here we are. On the brink of another Cold War, one from which only the war industry will profit while, as W. H. Auden wrote, the little children die in the streets.

The consequences of pushing NATO up to the borders with Russia - there is now a NATO missile base in Poland 100 miles from the Russian border - were well known to policy makers. Yet they did it anyway. It made no geopolitical sense. But it made commercial sense. War, after all, is a business, a very lucrative one. It is why we spent two decades in Afghanistan although there was near universal consensus after a few years of fruitless fighting that we had waded into a quagmire we could never win.

In a classified diplomatic cable obtained and released by WikiLeaks dated February 1, 2008, written from Moscow, and addressed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NATO-European Union Cooperative, National Security Council, Russia Moscow Political Collective, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State, there was an unequivocal understanding that expanding NATO risked an eventual conflict with Russia, especially over Ukraine.

Not only does Russia perceive encirclement [by NATO], and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests, the cable reads. “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war.” In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face. . . “. Dmitri Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, expressed concern that Ukraine was, in the long-term, the most potentially destabilizing factor in U.S.-Russian relations, given the level of emotion and neuralgia triggered by its quest for NATO membership . . . Because membership remained divisive in Ukrainian domestic politics, it created an opening for Russian intervention. Trenin expressed concern that elements within the Russian establishment would be encouraged to meddle, stimulating U.S. overt encouragement of opposing political forces, and leaving the U.S. and Russia in a classic confrontational posture.

The Obama administration, not wanting to further inflame tensions with Russia, blocked arms sales to Kiev. But this act of prudence was abandoned by the Trump and Biden administrations. Weapons from the U.S. and Great Britain are pouring into Ukraine, part of the $1.5 billion in promised military aid. The equipment includes hundreds of sophisticated Javelins and NLAW anti-tank weapons despite repeated protests by Moscow.

The United States and its NATO allies have no intention of sending troops to Ukraine. Rather, they will flood the country with weapons, which is what it did in the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia.

he conflict in Ukraine echoes the novel ԓChronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  In the novel it is acknowledged by the narrator that ԓthere had never been a death more foretold and yet no one was able or willing to stop it. All of us who reported from Eastern Europe in 1989 knew the consequences of provoking Russia, and yet few have raised their voices to halt the madness.  The methodical steps towards war took on a life of their own, moving us like sleepwalkers towards disaster.

Once NATO expanded into Eastern Europe, the Clinton administration promised Moscow that NATO combat troops would not be stationed in Eastern Europe, the defining issue of the 1997 NTO-RUSSIA FOUNDING ACT ON MUTUL RELATIONS\. This promise again turned out to be a lie. Then in 2014 the U.S. backed a coup against the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who sought to build an economic alliance with Russia rather than the European Union. Of course, once integrated into the European Union, as seen in the rest of Eastern Europe, the next step is integration into NATO.  Russia, spooked by the coup, alarmed at the overtures by the EU and NATO, then annexed Crimea, largely populated by Russian speakers. And the death spiral that led us to the conflict currently underway in Ukraine became unstoppable.

The war state needs enemies to sustain itself. When an enemy can’t be found, an enemy is manufactured. Putin has become, in the words of Senator Angus King, the new Hitler, out to grab Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. The full-throated cries for war, echoed shamelessly by the press, are justified by draining the conflict of historical context, by elevating ourselves as the saviors and whoever we oppose, from Saddam Hussein to Putin, as the new Nazi leader.

I don’t know where this will end up. We must remember, as Putin reminded us, that Russia is a nuclear power. We must remember that once you open the Pandora’s box of war it unleashes dark and murderous forces no one can control. I know this from personal experience. The match has been lit. The tragedy is that there was never any dispute about how the conflagration would start.

SOURCE

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How and Why the US Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine

By Erc Zuesse
Strategic Culture
June 18, 2018

This will documentthat the ‘new Cold War’ between the US and Russia did not start, as the Western myth has it, with Russias involvement in the breakaway of Crimea and Donbass from Ukraine, after Ukraine - next door to Russia - had suddenly turned rabidly hostile toward Russia in February 2014. Ukraine’s replacing its democratically elected NEUTRALIST Government in February 2014, by a RABIDLY ANTI-RUSSIAN Government, was a violent event, which produced many corpses. Its presented in The West as having been a ґrevolution instead of a coup; but whatever it was, it certainly generated the ‘new Cold War’ (the economic sanctions and NATO buildup on RussiaҒs borders); and, to know whether it was a coup, or instead a revolution, is to know what actually started the ‘new Cold War’, and why. So, this is historically very important.

Incontrovertible proofs will be presented here not only that it was a coup, but that this coup was organized by the US Government - that the US Government initiated the ‘new Cold War’; Russia’s Government reacted to America’s aggression, which aims to place nuclear missiles in Ukraine, less than ten minutes flight-time from Moscow. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, America had reason to fear Soviet nuclear missiles 103 MILES FROM AMERICA’S BORDER. But, after Americas Ukrainian coup in 2014, Russia has reason to fear NATO nuclear missiles not just near, but on, Russia’s border. That would be catastrophic.

If AMERICA’S SUCCESSFUL FEBRUARY 2014 OVERTHROW AND REPLACEMENT of Ukraines democratically elected NEUTRALIST Government doesnҒt soon produce a world-ending nuclear war (World War III), then there will be historical accounts of that overthrow, and the accounts are already increasingly trending and consolidating toward a historical consensus that it was a coup - that it was imposed by “somebody from the new coalition” - i.e., that the termination of the then-existing democratic (though like all its predecessors, corrupt) Ukrainian Government, wasnt authentically a ‘revolution’ such as the US Government has contended, and certainly wasn’t at all democratic, but was instead a coup (and a very bloody one, at that), and totally illegal (though backed by The West).

The purpose of the present article will be to focus attention on precisely whom the chief people are who were responsible for perpetrating this globally mega-dangerous (’Cold-War’-igniting) coup - and thus for creating the worlds subsequent course increasingly toward global nuclear annihilation.

If there will be future history, then these are the individuals who will be in the docks for that history’s harshest and most damning judgments, even if there will be no legal proceedings brought against them. Who, then, are these people?

Clearly, Victoria Nuland, US President Barack Obama’s central agent overseeing the coup, at least during the month of February 2014 when it climaxed, was crucial not only in overthrowing the existing Ukrainian Government, but in selecting and installing its rabidly anti-Russian replacement. The 27 January 2014 phone-conversation between her and America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, Jeffrey Pyatt was a particularly seminal event, and it was uploaded to youtube on 4 February 2014. I have discussed ELSEWHERE that call and its significance. Nuland there and then abandoned the EU’s hope for a still democratic but less corrupt future government for Ukraine, and Nuland famously said, on that call “Fuck the EU,” and she instructed Pyatt to choose instead the rabidly anti-Russian, and far-right, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This key event occurred 24 days before Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown on February 20th, and 30 days before the new person to head Ukraines Government, Yatsenyuk, became officially appointed to rule the NOW CLEARLY FASCIST COUNTRY. He won that official designation on February 26th. However, this was only a formality: Obama’s agent had already chosen him, on January 27th.

The second landmark item of evidence that it had been a coup and nothing at all democratic or a ‘revolution’, was the 26 February 2014 phone-conversation between the EU’s Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and her agent in Ukraine investigating whether the overthrow had been a revolution or instead a coup; he was Estonias Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, and HE TOLD HER THAT HE FOUND THAT IT HAD BEEN A COUP, and that “somebody from the new coalition” had engineered it - but he didn;t know whom that “somebody” was. Both Ashton and Paet were shocked at this finding, but they proceeded immediately to ignore that matter, and to discuss only the prospects for Europe’s investors in Ukraine, to be able to get their money back - their obsession was Ukraine’s corruption. Ashton told Paet that she had herself told the Maidan demonstrators, “you need to find ways in which you can establish a process that will have anti-corruption at its heart.” So, though the EU was unhappy that this had been a coup, they were far more concerned to protect their investors. In any case, the EU clearly wasn’t behind Ukraine’s coup. Equally clearly, they didnt much care whether it was a coup or instead what the US Government said, a ‘revolution’.

The network behind this coup had actually STARTED PLANNING for the coup back in 2011. Thats when Eric Schmidt of Google, and Jared Cohen, also now of Google but still continuing though unofficially as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief person tasked to plan ‘popular movements’ to overthrow both Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria.

Then, on 1 March 2013, THE IMPLEMENTATION of this plan started: the first “tech camp” to train far-right Ukrainians how to organize online the mass-demonstrations against Yanukovych, was held inside the US Embassy in Kiev on that date, which was over nine months before the Maidan demonstrations to overthrow Ukraines democratically elected President started, on 20 November 2013.

The American scholar Gordon M. Hahn has specialized in studying the evidence regarding whom the actual snipers were who committed the murders, but he focuses only on domestic Ukrainian snipers and ignores the foreign ones, who had been hired by the US regime indirectly through Georgian, Lithuanian and other anti-Russian CIA assets (such as via Mikheil Saakashvili, the ousted President of Georgia whom the US regime subsequently selected to become the Governor of the Odessa region of Ukraine). Hahn’s 2018 book UKRAINE OVER THE EDGE states on pages 204-209:

“Yet another pro-Maidan sniper, Ivan Bubenchik, emerged to acknowledge that he shot and killed Berkut [the Government’s police who were protecting Government buildings] before any protesters were shot that day [February 20th]. In a print interview, Bubenchik previews his admission in Vladimir Tikhii’s documentary film, Brantsy, that he shot ahd killed two Berkut commanders in the early morning hours of February 20 on the Maidan. ... Bubenchik claims that [on February 20] the Yanukovich regime started the fire in the Trade Union House - where his and many other EuroMaidan fighters lived during the revolt - prompting the Maidans next reaction. As noted above, however, pro-Maidan neofascists have revealed that the Right Sector started that fire. ... Analysis of the snipers’ massacre shows that the Maidan protesters initiated almost all - at least six out of a possible eight - of the pivotal escalatory moments of violence and/or coercion. ... The 30 November 2013 nighttime assault on the Maidan demonstrators is the only clear exception from a conclusive pattern of escalating revolutionary violence led by the Maidans relatively small but highly motivated and well-organized neofascist element.”

Although Hahns book barely cites the first and most detailed academic study of the climactic coup period of late February, Ivan Katchanovski’s poorly written THE SNIPERS’ MASSACRE ON THE MAIDAN IN UKRAINE, which was issued on 5 September 2015, Hahn’s is consistent with that: both works conclude that the available evidence, as Katchanovski puts it, shows that:

“The massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It [his investigation] found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas.”

Hahn downplays US heading of the coup. But shortly before the coup, the CIA secretly trained in Poland the Right Sector founder/leader Dmitriy Yarosh ("Dmytro Jarosz"), who headed Ukraines snipers. So, even the Ukrainian ones were working for the US

On 19 November 2017 was issued Gian Micalessin’s THE HIDDEN TRUTH ABOUT THE UKRAINE - PART 1 and THE HIDDEN TRUTH ABOUT THE UKRAINE - PART 2.

Summarizing them here: Two Georgian snipers say Saakashvili hired them in Tbilisi for a US-backed operation. But they know only about the “Georgian Legion” part. They think it was patterned on Georgias Rose Revolution. They each got $1000 for the operation and flew to Kiev on 15 January and were promised $5000 on return. (9:00) ғWe had to provoke the ‘Berkut’ police so they would attack the people. By February 15th the situation [at the Maidan] was getting worse every day. Then the first shots were fired. It was February 15 or 16. Mamunashvili [SaakashviliԒs man] introduced them to “an American military guy, Brian Christopher Boyenger” a former sniper for the 101st Airborne Division who “after Maidan he went to Donbass” to fight in the “Georgian Legion” but during the coup-climax, the far-right Andriy ”PARUBIY came very often,” and “Brian always accompanied him” and also instructing there was VLADIMIR PARASYUK, one of the leaders of the Maidan. The snipers were told not to aim but just to kill people randomly, to create chaos. There were also two Lithuanian snipers in the room. Some went down from the Ukraine Hotel to the second floor of the Conservatory Building, balcony. “They started to take out the guns and distributed them to each group.” “Then I heard shots from the next room” It lasted 15 minutes, then they were all ordered to escape.

On 13 February 2015 was telecast a German documentary, MAIDAN SNIPERS GERMN TV EXPOSES ARD MONITOR in which one of the demonstrators said that many of the bullets were fired from buildings controlled by the demonstrators, but that “We were also shot at from the other direction.” However, AST LEAST BEFORE 21 FEBRUARY 2014, police (Berkut) were seized by demonstrators and at least the possibility exists that some of the Right Sector snipers were taking positions in and especially atop some of the government buildings so as to fire down into the crowd and seem to be firing from Yanukovych’s side. Gordon Hahn hasnt been able to verify any firing in February 2014 by the Yanukovych government. Moreover: ”THEY WERE THE SAME SNIPERS KILLING PEOPLE FROM BOTH SIDES.”

On 1 February 2016 was posted to youtube a French documentary, UKRAINE - MASKS OF THE REVOLUTION which shows, from a meeting at Davos, at 48:00, Victoria Nuland, the announcer trying to speak with her and saying to the audience, “The US diplomat who came to support the Revolution, could she really ignore the existence of the paramilitaries?”; 48:50 Larry Summers at a meeting in Kiev during 10-12 September 2015 and then later at the 12TH YES ANNUAL MEETING saying, “Ukraine is an essential outpost of our fundamental military interests”; 49:25: Petraeus also shown there and the announcer says, “He also thinks that Ukraine is essential to block Putin.” Petraeus urges investment in Ukraine to block Russia; 51:00 McChrystal there also urges arming Ukraine; 51:50 Nuland is there and the announcer says: “The country that is most invested in Ukraines future is the US” “She is the architect of America’s influence in Ukraine.” Nuland says there at the “YES meeting, “We had a significant impact on the battlefield.” But the US regime blames Russia for that war.

Gordon Hahns restriction of blame for the coup only to native Ukrainian nazis doesnҒt fit the evidence, because there clearly is leadership of Ukraine’s Nazis by the US regime. Furthermore, the US regime and its Ukrainian client-state are the ONLY TWO NATIONS IN THE U.N. WHO VOTE AND REPETEDLY BACK FASCISM, nazism and Holocaust-denial. The anti-Russia Nazis took over Americas Government, which has taken over UkraineҒs. All of this goes back to the key US decision, which was made on 24 February 1990.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 02/25/22 •
Section Bad Moon Rising • Section Dying America • Section Fascism
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